26 hardy DWS employees got up before dawn on 10th October to take a trip to JCB in Rocester. JCB is a family-owned company, like Don Whitley Scientific Ltd, and we share many of the same values. The visit was organised to give us some insight into a successful, global company and hopefully pick up some ideas for our own future planning and growth strategy.
The visit started with a short video presentation and we then proceeded on a tour of the ‘JCB Story’. The guides explained the 67 year history of JCB from its humble beginnings making agricultural machines, through some of the hundreds of inventions the company has filed over the years, to a look at their latest venture – the manufacture of engines. We then went on a tour of the manufacturing facility (about a 3 mile walk in total).
There is said to be a JCB machine in every corner of the world. JCB is one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment and one of the largest family-owned manufacturing companies. They employ around 10,000 people on 4 continents, have 22 factories worldwide, and sell their products in 150 countries through 2,000 dealer depot locations.
The current head of the company, Sir Anthony Bamford (son of the founder), has a philosophy of innovation, just-in-time manufacturing, the power of a brand and the power of the people behind that brand.
Engineers in our group were awed by the sheer size of some of the machining centres; marketers were impressed with the consistent corporate branding on absolutely everything and the comprehensive range of marketing activities undertaken; the materials handling team were amazed by the size of the warehousing task required for such a huge manufacturing plant. Everyone on the trip found it to be extremely interesting and appeared to get something thought-provoking out of the day.